Now, if you are thinking “What the heck is an email automation?”…let me explain.
Email campaigns (also known as broadcasts) are date-triggered. This means they get sent out once, to your entire list, or a segment of your list, on a specific date and time.
Email automations, on the other hand, are action-triggered. They are sent out regularly, based on some sort of action that triggers the start of the automation. For example, actions can include:
- signing up for your email list,
- making a purchase,
- abandoning a cart,
- not interacting with your emails, and
The Purpose Of An Automated Welcome Series
So, in this client success story, we are discussing one type of email automation only — a lead-nurturing welcome series. This automated welcome series is sent to new subscribers upon joining your email list. You’re essentially “welcoming” them to your list…it makes sense, right?
The purpose of a welcome series is to onboard new prospects by:
- introducing them to your brand and making them feel a part of the family,
- educating them about your product(s) and/or service(s),
- answering one or some of their frequently asked questions,
- giving them a list of actionable tips,
- telling them a story about one of your customers, and
- setting expectations about future emails.
By doing so, your prospects will feel connected and engaged with your company, permitting them to know, like and gasp, even trust you! By the time they are ready to buy, they will purchase from you instead of from your competitors.
As a side benefit, a welcome series also tends to boost the overall performance of your email marketing, as it usually gets a higher open and clickthrough rate, impacting your future email deliverability.
Some background on this client
In the interest of this client’s privacy, I won’t be sharing their name or website. However, I’ll tell you a little bit about their business.
In the skincare industry, this client sells niche products online through their Shopify store. While they’ve been around since 2012, they’ve recently blown up thanks to hot trends like oil cleansing and sheet masks. Not to mention, they have had some great press.
Long story short, they had some good traction to begin with. However, after starting to work with the client, I noticed their email marketing was one of their lowest-converting traffic channels.
In case you didn’t know, email marketing should almost always be your highest-converting traffic channel. So, to me, this was an indicator of opportunity.
And while there were a number of areas we could improve in their email marketing, we decided to tackle the lowest-hanging fruit…an automated welcome series.
- Once we had the welcome series dialed in, it would require minimal ongoing maintenance. For the most part, you can “set and forget” it. With a small team that was already producing content for their blog, bi-weekly emails and YouTube channel at an incredible rate, an “automation” sounded like a godsend.
- I wanted to quickly get the client a win, while demonstrating the power of email automations. When it comes to email marketing, a welcome series is the first automation you should tackle.
Let’s dive into the details of this success story…
It’s time to get into the nitty gritty about how we generated $57,739.54 in automated revenue in 92 days for this client.
I mean, that is why you are reading this article, right? ☺
Ok, so let’s get started!
The 1st email in the welcome series
First, we noticed the client was already using a lead magnet, in the form of a discount, as a way to get new email subscribers on the site. They were offering a small discount for first-time customers, promoted through a popup.
This was a great incentive for new subscribers, and it was generating some great email list growth.
The client would send the discount to new subscribers via email after they opted-in. However, after running for over 15 months, this emailed discount had only resulted in $25,338.81 in automated revenue.
We made some small but important tweaks to this first email. The result? $25,230.45 in revenue, from this one email, in 92 days. In a nutshell, we generated the same amount or revenue in less than 1/5 of the time it had taken the client prior. A win? We certainly think so!
Now, what were some of these important tweaks?
1) We personalized the email.
What does this mean?
Instead of starting with a generic “Hi”, we used the subscriber’s first name — “Hi Sally” — in the email greeting. We also used their first name in the subject line, recipient name, etc. This helped establish a personal connection right off the bat.
2) We added more text to the email, sharing a little bit about the company and setting expectations for future emails.
Not only did this help the new subscriber feel more connected to the brand, but it also helps combat spam filters. Little text and many images is a surefire recipe for ending up in the Spam folder or Google Promotions tab.
No matter how pretty your images are, if no one sees them, does it really matter?
3) We added some urgency to the one-time discount.
As someone once told me: “An ad is only an ad if it has a deadline.” You need to give the subscriber a reason to make a decision quickly…are they in or out? Otherwise, they will never make a decision.
So what did we do?
We gave the first-time customer discount a deadline…with a 10-day expiration tag.
Think about it. You sign up for your favorite brand’s email newsletter to get 5% off your order. If there is no expiration date to that 5%, will you be in a rush to buy? If it expires in 3 days, do you think you’ll make your purchase decision more quickly? You betcha.
The 2nd email in the welcome series
The founder of this brand has a particularly visible role in her company. Therefore, we decided to leverage her popularity for the second email in this welcome series.
We shared her story, which was inextricably linked to the creation of her company.
This permitted the subscriber to immediately make them feel a part of the “family” because they received a personal email, straight from the founder.
This email served a dual purpose, which was to collect more information from subscribers, for future email segmentation purposes. So we asked subscribers to tell us about their skin type. The goal was to understand whose skin was oily, dry, normal, sensitive, etc.
This way, in the future, we can send educational emails to subscribers that correspond with their primary skin concern. Because let’s be honest, if you have rosacea, you want to receive content that is specific to your needs. You don’t want to receive content intended for someone who has acne scarring.
The 3rd email in the welcome series
Due to this client’s niche, there is a whole lot of education involved in using their products. And, most importantly, their prospects and customers are begging for educational material.
So when your prospects and customers beg, give them what they want.
It sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how many brands don’t do this.
We looked at all the most frequently asked questions from customers, reviewed the most popular pages on the blog and website, checked out all product reviews, and came up with a topic for the second email in this series.
It educated new subscribers about a particular skincare routine, linking to relevant products.
Because products were presented in a very intentional way, subscribers were able to very clearly see a reason to purchase…by understanding how they could incorporate each product into their existing skin care routine.
The best part about the email? We essentially repurposed content the client had already created, just using it in a way that was better suited for a marketing email. This meant we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel from a copywriting standpoint, which always speeds up execution time.
The 4th email in the welcome series
Last but not least, we ended with an email that reminded any new subscriber who had not yet purchased (special segmentation is needed for this), that their one-time discount was expiring in 24 hours.
This gave any subscriber who was still on the fence that extra little push they needed to purchase.
In summary, with a little bit of strategy and some upfront work (approximately 35 hours), we were able to help this client generate an extra $57K in automated revenue in 92 days. And that revenue will only increase as time goes by.
Think about that for a second. For the amount of energy put into this marketing effort, the current return-on-investment for this client is approximately $1,649.70 per hour. Honestly, what other marketing channel brings that kind of ROI?
On a related note, we were able to see a 4.37% conversion rate on this email automation, far higher than the website average of 1.04%. Plus, the conversion rate on this email automation was able to bump up email to the highest-converting traffic channel, with a current average conversion rate of 2.54%.
Most importantly, this welcome series has just scratched the surface of what this client can do with other email automations (and email marketing in general). Truly. Because their email marketing should be converting even better than it currently is.
I can think of at least 5 other email automations, off the top of my head, that this client could implement and see a close-to-immediate ROI. Like many other businesses, this client has a lot of low-hanging email marketing fruit.
Let’s be honest: why are you focusing on lower ROI marketing channels if you don’t have your email marketing dialed in yet? Especially if you can tackle one item, like your automated welcome series, and let it run on autopilot?
Do you currently have an automated welcome series in place? How’s it working for you? If not, what’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments below.